Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Immortals’ Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung during the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS). They talked (in Korean and translated to English) about Immortals’ strong start to the summer split, handling initial difficulties and his relationship with ex-Immortals jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett.
Andrew Kim: Immortals is off to a good start so far, but as important as the start itself, continuing that momentum should also be equally important. In your opinion, what would be the most important in order to make that happen?
Kim “Olleh” Joo-Sung: During the spring split, I wasn’t confident in my play on stage. But as I got close with Josh and talked with him, I gained a lot of confidence and came to the summer with that confidence. Although Josh wasn’t with me, the confidence he instilled in me was still there, so I can play my confident champions like Bard, and even make some calls of my own.
AK: Were you particularly close with with Dardoch?
KJS: At first I got criticized by him a lot. Before I came to North America, I was going through a slump of sorts. I used to be in high Challenger in Korea, but then after the slump hit me, I was down to Diamond 2. I even thought about quitting the game altogether, but I joined Immortals as kind of a last hurrah, and I managed to get to Challenger with 100 ping. So I thought I still had it, but I couldn’t overcome my slump that easily. After I joined Immortals, I even cried a couple of times on stage during the first month or two, and my champion picks weren’t confident at all. Josh really criticized me like, “Why the hell would you ward like this?” during feedback. I didn’t spend that much time with native English speakers before now. I was in Taiwan and Brazil, and they can’t really swear well in English. It really shook me up listening to how a native swears. There’s a huge difference between a Taiwanese person saying “what the fuck” and when a native English speaker says “what the fuck.” It just comes across different. Since he was so eloquent in his swearing, it kind of messed with me mentally, but as we spent more time talking and as I helped him during scrims — we even won our match against C9 based on our scrim plans. Now he’s a good friend of mine, and we always talk with one another.
AK: It must have been difficult then, to hear that Dardoch was not going to be part of Immortals this split. How did you react to the news?
KJS: Honestly, when the team asked for my input on the matter, I said that I liked playing with him. We just started playing on the same page, and that if we could work better together in the summer, we could create a great jungle-support synergy. But the team made the decision to trade him, thinking of the whole team, so I couldn’t complain. I’m just a player. I just go with what the team goes with.
AK: Last split there was some sense of a lack of coordination with Cody (“Cody Sun” Sun). Right now it seems like both him individually and your synergy with him improved a lot. How did the process of that go?
KJS: At first we had kind of a turf war. We both thought that we were better than the other. Cody didn’t play on the big stage before and was added to the team as an amateur player. I played in Taiwan, Korea, and Brazil, so I thought I had more experience, but Cody seemed to think that he was still slightly ahead of me. Since he was quick to judge someone based on their solo queue score, I told him that I would raise my points to his level, and I did. During scrims I fed him some kills, and I think he started to really like me. I didn’t convince him through words, but I proved that I could do better than other supports through my play. I think that’s why he’s more willing to trust me and follow me more.
AK: It really seems like you have interesting stories pertaining to your relationships with other players. Seeing as how they’re going in the right directions, it makes me think that you are good at managing that skill. Do you also agree with that?
KJS: At first, of my four or five years of LoL, there was this saying I was aware of: in a team of 10, five don’t know who I am, three don’t like me, and one person does like me. When I first joined the team, there wasn’t any guarantee that the players would all like me. Even if I was good in one way, the other players could see only my shortcomings. I don’t blame other people if I can help it. Even if the other lanes fall behind, I say that we can win. So even if they didn’t like me from the start, like if they would criticized me a lot at the start, but when I kept my silence when they made some clear mistakes, they would then overlook something they would previously call me out on. They come to understand that I am a player that can address my problems without them having to criticize me for it. Before I was definitely just all talk, but I learned that it was meaningless to be that way and to keep a zipper on my mouth as I prove myself through action.
AK: When it comes to a League of Legends pro team, what is the most important?
KJS: For the team to do well, it needs to move together. What’s important to a team, though, when something needs to happen, everybody needs to be on board. If one player splits off thinking that he doesn’t agree with the call, then no matter how much the fight was in our favor, we can’t help but lose since it becomes a 4-v-5. On the flip side, if it’s a losing fight but we’re as one while the opponents have one player splits off, then we always win that fight. What I learned is that no matter how good a single player is, they can’t play this game alone. When people keep saying team game, team game, it’s that the team needs to move together, and even if someone makes a mistake, you pick them up. Even if you’re No. 1 or 2 on Challenger, you can always make mistakes. When that happens, the team needs to come together and believe in one another before the next game. But for instance, if the team loses faith in me based on my poor performance (in one game), then I can’t make confident plays, and the teammates can’t come together. If I could say one thing to an amateur player, it’s that if you join a pro team, go with the team for better or for worse. That’s very important.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/Slingshot illustration